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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bob Kerrey vs His Nebraska Residency: GOP Wants To Block His Eligibility

Nebraska GOP pushes forward with Kerrey residency challenge

The Nebraska Republican Party will push forward in court with a challenge to the residency of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey, the group confirmed Tuesday.

Kerrey, who served as a Nebraska senator from 1989-2001, later moved out of the state to serve as president of The New School in New York City.

Last week Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale determined Kerrey moved back to Nebraska "with some urgency" to file the requisite residency forms, but that he remained eligible to appear of the May 15 primary ballot and the November general election ballot.

Gale said Nebraska state law requires Senate candidates meet requirements laid out by the U.S. Constitution, which only mandates a person be a resident of their state at the time they are elected.

On Tuesday, Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Jordan McGrain said his group was challenging the ruling in court.

"Part of our contention is that while the federal Constitution provides the requirements to serve in the Senate, individual states certainly have the purview to decide whether or not he can remain on the ballot," McGrain said.

In the original challenge to Kerrey's residency submitted to the Secretary of State, the Nebraska GOP contended Kerrey hastily moved back to Nebraska after deciding to make a bid for Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson.

In his determination opinion, Secretary of State Gale concluded Kerrey initially listed his sister's Omaha residence on his voter registration application when he first moved back to Nebraska in February. He soon switched his residence to another Omaha address, telling the Secretary of State he was leasing the guest house on a friend's property.

In his determination, Gale wrote, "It is quite clear that Mr. Kerrey considered himself a resident of New York State until February 28, 2012, when he filed his first voter registration application with the Douglas County Election Commissioner."

Despite concluding the accusations from the Nebraska GOP had merit, Gale said he would be unable to bar Kerrey from appearing on the primary and general election ballots since the federal rules only require a person to reside in the state at the time of election.

McGrain said his group was pushing forward with a court challenge, saying, "We've heard a number of Nebraskans who are concerned in the manner in which Bob Kerrey was able to fly in at eleventh hour for purposes of running for Senate."

No matter the outcome, the effort will underscore a major element of the Republican campaign against Kerrey, which seeks to paint the former senator a New York liberal. Radio spots from the conservative group American Crossroads, which began airing last week, asserted: "A decade in Greenwich Village changed Bob Kerrey."

"We feel there's a compelling argument to get him removed, and I suppose the political byproduct is people remain informed that he still doesn't live in Nebraska," McGrain said. "It seems he's flying back to New York every weekend, and even if he won, would move with his family to Washington."

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Sources: CNN, N in the Know, Youtube, Google Maps

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